How to Remove Insecticide & Pesticide on Fruits & Vegetables


Removing pesticides from fruit and vegetables is an important safety precaution. Insecticide or pesticide residue left behind on produce cannot be identified by the naked eye. It is best to wash all conventional produce regardless of the toxicity level of any pesticide used to grow the crop.

Step 1

Wash hands and countertops with soap and warm water before handling produce.

Step 2

Remove the outer leaves of lettuce, cabbage or any leafy vegetable and discard.

Step 3

Place the vegetable or fruit in the colander and hold under running water for several seconds.

Step 4

While under the running water, run the fruit or vegetable with your hands or a scrubbing brush for vegetables with tougher surfaces such as potatoes and carrots.

Step 5

Wash lettuce leaves individually. Grapes can be washed more efficiently if removed from the stems.

Tips and Warnings

  • The FDA does not recommend washing fruit or vegetables with soap, detergent or commercial products.

Things You'll Need

  • Running water
  • Colander


  • Consumers' Research Magazine; Reducing Unwanted Residues on Food; Beatrice Hunter; February 1998
  • Nutrition Action Health Letter; David Schardt; March 1998
  • FDA: Preparation Tips for Fresh Produce
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Washing Fruits and Vegetables - Why and How
Keywords: removing pesticides, wash fruits, washing vegetables, cleaning produce